Let Baby Sagini pain be last case of abuse, neglect

Nominated Senator Essy Okenyuri consoles Junior Sagini who is recuperating at Kisii Eye Hospital. [Sammy Omingo,Standard]

It hurts to even think of Baby Sagini and how events of the last few days have changed his life. His story is a perfect example of how far humanity has fallen. To imagine that Sagini will never see and play around enjoying his Christmas, pains.

However, it hurts more when chief suspects of the heinous crime are people closest to him. Those supposed to protect and care for him for the rest of his life have turned out worse than wild animals. This is not the African society. African societies are where women and children are treated specially. Even in days of war, it was taboo to hurt a woman or a child. Not even wild animals would want to hurt a child. Back in 2005, there was a story of how a stray dog saved a two-day old baby abandoned in the forest. The dog was scavenging for food for her puppies, yet it carefully carried the baby using teeth to a place where it could be rescued.

From the reports on Baby Sagini's case, it is obvious whatever happened to him was not an accident. It was a well thought out plan to harm him. Some reports indicate that the plan was to keep him out of succession to the family's land. It is obvious even his day to day life in that homestead wasn't comfortable. He had suffered more before the day he was put through the most tortuous ordeal any human being can go through.

Now, there are more children going through pain and suffering either in families that are dysfunctional or by genuine lack of basic needs due to poverty.

One of the most common forms of abuse children have gone through in the hands of people supposed to protect them is sexual abuse. Many have been intimidated to silence while others who would wish to talk do not know who to talk to or where to report.

As authorities mitigate Baby Sagini's pain, they should establish a monitoring mechanism to prevent such an incident in future. This is in line with Article 16 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Part of one of the article is explicit that;

'States Parties to the present Charter shall take specific legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all, forms of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and especially physical or mental injury or abuse, neglect or maltreatment including sexual abuse, while in the care of the child'.

This is also captured in Article 53 of our Constitution where among many other rights, a child has a right to 'be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.'

The writer is an anchor at Radio Maisha